Beer lovers come in all shapes and sizes, and they routinely come from all over the world to take in the majesty and wonder known as Niagara Falls. While the Niagara region is routinely heralded as an excellent place to get world-class wines, there are a surprising amount of quality breweries and beers to be enjoyed in the area as well.
Whether you’re relishing a romantic getaway in one of the city’s best hotels’ suites or you’re lucky enough to be in Niagara Falls on business, here is a look at the Niagara Beer Trail — a must-do for beer lovers who find themselves in the Honeymoon Capital of the World.
A self-guided, multi-media tour, the Niagara Beer Trail takes you to six different stops in the Niagara region. Throughout the tour, you’ll be able to take brewery tours, sample unique beer offerings, and, if you get hungry, enjoy a meal at one of the breweries’ on-site restaurants. Most of the breweries keep their beer recipes simple and straightforward whether they’re making lagers or lambics, and they rely on ingredients produced locally, putting the fecundity of the region to good use and benefitting from the established quality for which Niagara farms are known. While a much smaller industry than Niagara’s wine, this tour concisely shows the excellence and commitment to quality present in Niagara’s nascent craft brew scene.
Some of the Breweries
Here are four of the six stops you can make along the tour:
- The Merchant Ale House Restaurant Brewpub. Started in a basement, this St. Catherines blue-collar-feeling pub brews their beer on-site without preservatives, and you can find everything here from ales and lagers to berry-flavored beers. Two of the more popular offerings are the Blonde Bombshell Blonde and the Old Time Hockey Ale, a chocolate malt amber ale that was the first beer the Merchant Ale House ever made. There is also a restaurant on site should you need a snack to keep your blood-alcohol level in check.
- Oast House Brewers. This microbrewery uses local ingredients in all their brews and in their on-site restaurant. Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this brew house was founded by three locals with experiences in the local wine industry as well as beer production. Oast House provides an excellent brewery tour, and their zealous commitment to small batch craft brewing shines through in every tasting. Notable beers include a Belgian-style Saison and the Barnraiser Country Ale.
- Silversmith Brewing Company. Started in 2012, this craft brewery makes its beer in a beautiful, old, vine-covered church. Following the patterns established by the local wine industry, Silversmith has quickly gotten its beers into the bars, restaurants, and events throughout Ontario. Their Black Lager is one of their best and most popular.
- Taps on Queen Brewhouse and Grille. This Niagara Falls brewhouse is owned and operated by two families, who first got their start as ambitious home brewers. Their complementary tour allows visitors a good look at their brewing process. Their tasting at the end of the tour costs a small amount, but it’s worth it to sample a variety of their excellent beer, so you can make an informed decision about what to get a pint of. Syndicate Restaurant and Brewery, the last stop on the beer trail, is the sister brewhouse to Taps.
Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just someone who appreciates a cold brew now and then, spend some time on Niagara’s Beer Trail, where the art and craft of brewing are serious business.